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Levon Aronian vs Ruslan Ponomariov
World Cup (2005) (rapid), Khanty-Mansiysk RUS, rd 7, Dec-17
Queen's Gambit Declined: Tartakower Defense. General (D58)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-17-05  Kangaroo: After <12 ... Bb4+ 13. Ke2> Black should have played <13 ... Be7> accepting the sad truth that White had the advantage.

The very idea of the mess with Bb4 and pawn on c5 has been proven to be very dangerous.

Dec-18-05  Petrosian63: Aronian was too good and too quick for Ponomariov. Won quite convincingly.
Dec-18-05  patzer2: After Pono's miscue 13...Ba5? (better is 13...c4 14. axb5 cxd3+ 15. Qxd3 ), Aronian springs a neat tactic with 14. b4! cxb4 15. Qb3! to trap and win a piece:

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(15...? Black to move and lose)

If 15...bxa3 to save the Bishop, 16. Qxd5! traps the Rook.

If 15...Bb7 to save the Rook, 16. axb4 snares the Bishop.

Pono to his credit achieves the best possible damage control available in the position with 15...Nc5!?, but still can't avoid a lost position against Aronian, who works his extra piece against Pono's two pawns for a winning advantage.

Dec-18-05  patzer2: A bit of analysis and complete tournament results can be found at

As the annotator there notes, after Pono's 59...Be4, it requires strong technique on the part of Aronian in springing a winning endgame combination with 60. Bg5! and the followup moves to win Black's remaining pawn.

Dec-18-05  patzer2: The first nine moves of this game follow Pinter vs Short, 1988. Pono varies at move ten with 10...exd5! versus the 10...Bxh4 played by Short, but this not appear to be the source of Black's trouble in this game.

Perhaps <Kangaroo>'s suggestion of 12...Be7 or Fritz 8's first choice 12...Nf6 = would have given Pono better chances of equalizing.

Dec-18-05  Madman99X: I appreciate it when these GM's fight out a losing position to the bitter end like that. It allows us lesser folk to see the technique necessary to pull of a win in a difficult situation, EG bishops on opposite colors, 1 knight advantage, and 1 pawn each on the same file. I'm not convinced I could win such a game when under a time constraint. I would probably end up drawing because I couldn't weasel my king in there, and so I find the game most instructive.
Dec-18-05  patzer2: Aronian's 18. Bh7+! is a good defensive move, demonstrating a good technique for breaking an opponent's pawn fork.

If Pono responds 18...Kxh7, then 19. Qc2+ removes the Queen from danger and gives him a tempo to play 20. bxa5 to remain a piece up. Or as the game continuation shows, Pono can respond to 18...Kh8 with 19. Qc3!, demonstrating the "if you take mine, I'll take your's" or "if you retreat your's, I'll retreat mine" idea.

Dec-19-05  pulsar: 12...c5 hemmed in the bishop for the white's pawn. What if pono played Re8 instead and try to put pressure in the center where the king is located?

The c5 thrust may be delayed and he could put the black-squared bishop to e7 or f8 where it may later exert some pressure via f6 or g7.

i'm a newbie here.:)

Dec-19-05  patzer2: <pulsar> Looks like 12...Re8 13. Qb3! wins a pawn for a clear White advantage. I don't think the problem was 12...c5. Rather, Black should have played 13...c4 instead of allowing 13...Ba5? 14. b4! .
Dec-20-05  pulsar: patzer2> yes, i missed that.:) but wouldn't c4 drop a pawn, too, after 14.axb4 cxd3+ 15.Qxd3?...i don't see how black can proceed after that, either. both the a and c files might be dangerous for black, and the pawn on before can be used to restrict the black pawns on the Q-side.

black must also guard the e5 square or white's knight might create further problems there.

thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Dec-20-05  patzer2: It's true 13...c5 14.axb4 cxd3+ 15.Qxd3 drops a pawn. Yet after 15...Nf6 16. Rhc1 Ne4 17. Kf1 Bf5 18. Qb5 , Black has good development and piece activity to help compensate for the pawn deficit. IMO Black's drawing chances after 13...c5, with active pieces against White's doubled pawns, are slightly better than in the 12...Re8 line.

However, your point is well taken that in both of these lines White holds a small advantage, which at this level of play is more often than not decisive.

Apr-26-08  positionalgenius: One of my favorite games of all-time. A stunning game from aronian. His endgame technique was impressive to say the least,breaking through ponomariov's tough resistance.

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